Egyptian army soldiers stand guard in northern Sinai - Reuters
CAIRO – 16 April 2018: Egypt Today conducted an interview with Salama El Gohary, member of the National Security and Defence Committee in the Egyptian Parliament, to follow the latest updates of the ongoing military operation in Sinai to eliminate terrorism, known by the name “Sinai 2018”.
How do you see the latest terrorist attack that took place in Sinai on Saturday?
Terrorism in Sinai is not over yet and more victims are expected due to the intensive military operations in the peninsula. Both Egyptian Armed Forces and the Ministry of Interior will continue their task to eliminate terrorism and open the gate for development.
When will “Sinai 2018” operation end?
There is no specific time when military operations will end. The operations will continue until terrorism is eliminated. The terrorist elements are backed by foreign parties that target Egyptian national security. Doubled efforts are needed to capture the terrorists hiding among civilians in Sinai. However, the “Sinai 2018” operation will undergo constant evaluation to realize the best methods to face terrorism.
Despite the ongoing military operations, how do terrorists manage to target security apparatuses?
Casualties are unavoidable during this operation. Terrorism will not end overnight, since it receives logistical support through smugglers and tunnels, in addition to the fact that terrorists are capable of making bombs and explosive belts. The leaders of these armed militias are luring and brainwashing the youth, and manipulating them to execute suicide operations in order to go to heaven.
Is there foreign elements joining terrorists in Sinai?
Of course there are foreign mercenaries amongst the terrorists in Sinai; most of them are bankrolling the current terrorist attacks, according to security apparatuses.
Has the curfew imposed in Northern Sinai had any positive impact on the military operations there?
The curfew is essential to cut off supplies for terrorism, to put an end to the terrorists’ movements during the night and follow up any suspicious activities. The curfew should be extended to help authorities secure the lives of civilians in the peninsula.
What do you think about extending the state of emergency for three more months?
Extending the state of emergency for three more months came due to circumstances beyond the government’s control. It came to enable security forces to hinder terrorism in other governorates across the country. The Egyptian State managed to direct proactive hits against terrorism; extending the state of emergency is very common in nations facing terrorism.
Do you think the Syrian crisis will have a negative impact on Egypt’s future?
The Syrian crisis has a major impact on the region; several western states are seeking to destroy Syria. The unrest in Syria plays a big role in exporting terrorism to other nations such as the neighboring state of Libya. The Egyptian security forces are exerting huge efforts to secure the country’s borders.
Do you think sanctions should be imposed on states supporting terrorism?
Sanctions must be imposed on states funding and supporting terrorism in the region, and the international society must take a tougher stance towards such states.